ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Three letters - CCP - are filling a need in the Quad Cities.
"I try to live my faith. I'm a Catholic who happens to be a deputy sheriff," explained Deputy Tim Ott.
Ott created Catholic Care Packs after he saw too many people leave the Rock Island County Jail empty-handed.
"They had pretty much their whole life in a garbage bag, or a grocery bag, and it was all tattered or torn," he explained.
His CCP program changes all that with backpacks stuffed with the essentials like toiletries, snacks, water and warmth.
"We hate to just say we're helping the homeless, because we're going beyond that," Ott said. "We're helping those in need. Not everybody wants to have the help of a shelter. They're independent, but they just need some supplies. Those are the ones we're looking for."
And with the need, the CCP team has grown. The backpacks are decorated by students at Jordan Catholic School in Rock Island. They're stocked by the Sisters at the monastery with donations from parishioners. The whole package is then blessed by the priest on Sundays.
"The kids write cards of inspiration, saying thinking of you and praying for you, and those also go into the backpacks," said Ott.
When a recipient of a bag runs out of supplies, they can even get it restocked. Extras are stored at places like the Rock Island Central Fire Station. Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey says it's a commitment they all make to public service but especially by men like Deputy Ott.
"And anytime we need more supplies or more backpacks, he has them to us the next day," Yerkey said.
Deputy Ott is quick to recognize the others who help execute his idea.
"I might have helped push it along and develop it, but there's so many people involved in this, and it's truly amazing. I'm truly humbled," Ott said.
Beyond the Badge is part of our effort to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who make a difference in their communities.
WQAD, in partnership with Milltown Realty and Davenport Guns, is accepting your nominations, so we can highlight officers in our area who go "beyond the badge" to make a positive impact.
This honor is being given in memory of Detective Richard “Rick” Ryckeghem. Rick retired from the Moline Police Department. His last position held there was as the Quad Cities Crime Stoppers Coordinator. His focus throughout his career was to make a difference in the lives of the people he encountered.